If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Perceptions from Three Recently-Appointed Judges | CPDonline.ca

If I Knew Then What I Know Now: Perceptions from Three Recently-Appointed Judges

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Professionalism (Ethics, etc.): 1.25
80 minutes
Substantive: 0.25
20 minutes
Robin McKechney
David M. Porter
Lorne Sossin
Catriona Verner
Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA)
100 minutes
$119.00 plus tax

This successful program is back with 3 new judges and 3 fresh takes on the age old question… What are judges really thinking?

As litigators, you spend your entire career seeing the courtroom from the counsel podium, watching the often-inscrutable face of a judge looking back. You have probably wondered: What is the judge thinking? Is my argument making sense? How can I do better? Unfortunately, there is no rule of procedure that allows us to call a timeout and ask, “how am I doing so far?” 

This unique program will address these common concerns through a distinguished panel that consists of three recently-appointed Ontario judges, one from each of the Court of Appeal, the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice (criminal). Our speakers will share what they have observed from the bench that they wish they knew when they were counsel. They will reflect on what they would have told their former lawyer selves if they could turn back time.  Drawing on their recent and long-term experience as lawyers, our speakers will tell you what they frequently see (and do not see, but should). What advocacy skills work? What traits annoy them? How can you as an advocate be more effective?


Robin McKechney

Robin has acted as counsel on several of Canada’s pre-eminent white-collar criminal trials including Nortel, Royal Group and Armour Pharmaceuticals. Robin has also been engaged in both prosecuting and defending professionals before disciplinary tribunals and has frequently appeared as trial and appellate counsel for self-regulating professional colleges in Ontario.

Robin is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he has taught the Law of Evidence in both the J.D. and Common Law LL.M. programs since 2014.  Robin has spoken on numerous continuing legal education panels and conferences on topics including financial crimes, internal investigations, criminal procedure and professional regulation. Robin is a co-author of “Prosecuting and Defending Professional Regulatory Cases” which will be published by Emond Publishing in November 2019.

Robin obtained his B.A. (Hons) from the University of Saskatchewan and attended law school at Dalhousie University where he was awarded the Nova Scotia Law Foundation Scholarship. Robin graduated from Dalhousie Law School in 2000 and was called to the bar in Ontario in 2002.

Justice David M. Porter

Justice David McCrae Porter was called to the bar in 1983. He has been a partner at the law firm McCarthy Tetrault LLP since 1990 and has specialized in criminal defence and professional discipline prosecution and defence. Justice Porter was the Law Society representative on the Ontario Judicial Council for several years and was also the Canadian Bar Association's representative on the Steering Committee on Justice Efficiencies and Access to the Criminal Justice System. Justice Porter has taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and University of Toronto Law School.

Justice Lorne Sossin

Justice Lorne Sossin was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in November 2020. Prior to this appointment, Justice Sossin served as a judge of the Superior Court of Justice (2018-2020). Before this initial appointment, Justice Sossin served as Professor and Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, at York University (2010-2018). Previously, Justice Sossin was a Professor with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto (2002-2010) and a former Associate Dean (2004-2007). He served as the inaugural Director of the U. of T. Centre for the Legal Profession (2008-2010).

Justice Sossin was a law clerk to former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada, a former Associate in Law at Columbia Law School and a former litigation lawyer with the firm of Borden & Elliot (now Borden Ladner Gervais). He received his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1996. Justice Sossin holds doctorates from the University of Toronto in Political Science and from Columbia University in Law.

Justice Sossin has published numerous books, journal articles, reviews and essays, including Administrative Law in Practice: Principles and Advocacy (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2018) (with Emily Lawrence); and Boundaries of Judicial Review: The Law of Justiciability in Canada 2nd ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2012). Justice Sossin is also the recipient of the 2012 David Mundell Medal for excellence in Legal Writing.

Justice Catriona Verner

Justice Catriona Verner was born in Kingston and lived in a variety of places throughout her youth, including New Zealand, Japan and Europe.  She returned to Kingston to complete an undergraduate degree in Commerce.

While working on her degree, Madam Justice Verner started volunteering with the John Howard Society. Through her work with those serving life sentences at Kingston Penitentiary, she developed an interest in criminal law and turned her focus to legal studies.  She graduated from Queen's Law School in 1999 and began a practice in criminal defence work. She completed articles at what was then known as Hicks Block Adams LLP and continued as an associate specializing in criminal appeals until she left the firm in 2016.  Since then she has been practising with Lockyer Campbell Posner LLP, where her work has been almost exclusively at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Verner has spoken at conferences, published several papers, lectured at multiple law schools, and been asked to appear at the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Ontario criminal defence bar as an intervenor for the Criminal Lawyers' Association.

Justice Verner, her husband, Corbin Cawkell, and their six-year-old daughter are active members of the Republic of Rathnelly community in Toronto.

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